Austin: Fiesta Gardens Complex Rehabilitation on Track for Summer Bid
Feature Photo: An artist’s concept rendering of the renovated bandstand plaza at Fiesta Gardens, by Clayton Korte.
by Art Benavidez
Austin (Travis County) — The Design Commission deferred action on plans for the Fiesta Gardens Complex Rehabilitation during this week’s meeting to give designers more time to address issues raised.
Commissioners were concerned about the lack of a public streetscape.
The Austin office of Clayton Korte, formerly Clayton and Little, presented the commission with concept renderings of the project, along with a site plan.
Fiesta Gardens is a park-side event and entertainment complex that lies on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake, just east of I-35 at 2101 Jesse E. Segovia Street.
The scope of the renovation project will focus on preserving and restoring the character-defining architectural features of the historic buildings and structures, while providing rehabilitation to meet current codes and enhance the use of the site.
Opened in 1966, Fiesta Gardens was originally intended as a tourist destination that the city purchased in 1967.
The venue serves as a reception center for family celebrations, reunions, parties and weddings.
The complex features a mid-century modernist take on Spanish Colonial-Pueblo Revival architecture.
Fiesta Gardens’ principal contributing structures include a dining hall, an outdoor patio with a bandstand, a grandstand facing a lagoon on Lady Bird Lake, and the Mercado de México building that originally served as shopping stalls facing an enclosed garden courtyard.
Fiesta Gardens is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and all work on the facility will need to comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
The concept site plan presented by Clayton Korte included renovating the Mercado building to 4,165 square feet, renovating the grandstand to 3,407 square feet (a 287-square-foot expansion), renovating the bandstand to 480 square feet (a 342-square-foot expansion), renovating the the dining hall to 5,011 square feet (a 2,412-square-foot expansion).
The Fiesta Gardens overall site plan.
Austin-based consulting engineers Jose I. Guerra, Inc. and landscape architects Co’Design are also on board the project.
The Phase 1 scope of work, per the project’s website, include:
Architectural restoration and rehabilitation to enhance the use of the dining hall, patio, bandstand and grandstand.
Mechanical system upgrades to meet code compliance and sustainability goals.
Landscape and site improvements to address site access, comfort, circulation and drainage.
Holistic site design to incorporate wayfinding signage and interpretive information, define pedestrian entry from the street, and enhance the patio space and surrounding landscape plantings.
Preservation repairs to address the deteriorated conditions of the Mercado building’s exterior walls.
Phase 2 opportunities include:
Architectural restoration and rehabilitation to facilitate use of the Mercado building as part of the special event venue for celebrations and for community programs.
Architectural, civil engineering and landscape design to integrate the Parks and Recreation Department maintenance vehicle storage area into a new public parking area, additional park space, as well as support space for the Fiesta Gardens complex.
Landscape and trail design for a new terrace at the water’s edge near the base of the grandstands to provide space for performances.
Dining Hall north and south elevations.
Bidding for the project is expected to take place this summer and conclude in the fall with construction anticipated to commence in the fall of 2021 and conclude within a year.
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.